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Preface The man we know as Fred Kabotie’s real name is “Nakavoma”, which means “Day After Day”. Over the period of his life, Fred “Nakavoma” Kabotie would become one of the best known Hopi individuals of the 20th century. His influence would carry not only into various aspects of art, but more importantly, to the Hopi community. Indeed, few Native individuals represented their people more holistically.
Since Hopisdon’t follow Early Years He was born in the small village ofEuropean Shungopavi, locatedcalendars, in modern day centralKabotie is Arizona.unsure of hisactual birthday,but it’s believedto be inFebruary of In his early years, he lived with a family1900. that took the “hostile” position towards Euro invasion. This would later shape his practice in art.As a child, Fred claims to have been caughtbetween progressive and traditional Hopi culture; howeveras his art develops he sticks to traditionalism.
Shipped Off He was forced to attend school starting at age seven, but barely ever went. He staunchly refused to trade his Hopi religion At just age six, Fred was for Christianity. removed from his family Before long, Fred was moved again. This time and marched to a nearby to another school in a different Hopi village, at Oraibi. state.
An Artist is Formed Fred was sent to Santa Fe around age 10 and was placed in a boarding school. The years here were crucial to his artistic development. Schooling was no less harsh than Shungopavi, and he didn’t like it any better, but he was beginning to develop a knack for art. Motivated by his Dutch friends/mentors, the De Huffs, Kabotie developed a soft spot for preserving Hopi culture in his art. He sold his first work for a “great price” at just ten years old.
One of the most prominent themes in all of Fred Kabotie’s work is realism. Virtually all of his paintings are a portrayal of a past/present Hopi ceremony. The reason for this is, perhaps, due to his early years when his culture was nearly stripped from him. He confessed a turning point, around 1927, when he became convinced his mission in art was to conserve Hopi culture, and moreover, make it strong and vibrant for the current Hopi population he cared so much for. Realism
Kabotie as MuralistSome of Fred Kabotie’sbest known work is in Fred paintedmural form. The picture murals in otherin the backround is, areas as well: Giftperhaps, his mostpopular. The mural is shops, Resorts,located in the popular Cultural centers,“Watchtower” at Grand and Museums allCanyon National Park. over AZ and NM.
Kabotie as PainterFred’s earlywork was done After a 20 year break from any painting, Fred took amostly for job for the Museum of New Mexico. He produced onepatrons, but of his most famous works: “The Pueblo Destructioncollectors Of St. Bartholomew”.began torecognize histalents and hisfan basebroadened. One of his biggest artistic breakthroughs was an invitation to the Golden Gate Intl. Expo. After showingShortly after, Fred was invited to his work, he was deemed an “importantshow his paintings at the Museum of contributor.”Modern Art in New York in 1941.
Kabotie as SilvercrafterThe guildtook off in1949, after ajournalistnoticed Fred’sand hisstudents’work.Afterward,demand fortheir workwent global. Fred’s silvercrafting began in coalition with the Northern Arizona Museum. He quickly became involved with a small group of other men, and they formed the first Hopi school for silversmiths. The objective was to employ Hopi WWII veterans, who would then produce a commodity for the local Native economy. Lastly, he formed a guild so the workers have steady jobs after graduation and a platform to produce and sell their work.
Fred met his wife, Alice, in Phoenix, Arizona in 1930—they were married for over 50 years and had three children. When he wasn’t traveling, Fred and his family would stay at home in Shungopavi and take pleasure in little things, like planting, herding, the sun, and telling stories of Hopi history. Personal Life
Art Teacher Fred took his first teaching job at Ft. Wingate in New Mexico. He then went to teach at the Oraibi village back in his native lands. Although he has many other side-jobs, Fred remainsed at this position for over 20 years. His motivation for teaching was “to spread Hopi culture to young children.”
Jolly Good Fellow After seeing his work, an admirer of Kabotie’s recommended him for a Guggenheim fellowship. Reportedly, she told him he needed “To be able to work on his art full-time.” Fred applied in June of 1945, and was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow. His stipend was $2000 for the year, and he chose to do his project on “Designs From the Ancient Mimbrenos”, which eventually turned into a one-of-a-kind collectors item.
Michael Kabotie (1942- 2009) was Fred’s oldest son. After college, he would carry on the family’s artist traditions. His style was different than his father’s, but Michael became known as a prominent Native artist all the same. He wasn’t know for murals, but just like his dad, he worked with both silver and paint. The Next Generation
International Art Representative In the summer of 1959, Fred’s wife, Alice, received a phone call from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, asking her and her husband to represent the Hopi people at the World Agricultural Fair in New Delhi, India. Supposedly, Alice accepted on the spot, without even asking Fred, and the two took flight to India. On the way back, Fred and Alice Traveled the world for the first and last time, stopping in Rome, Paris, Cairo, and Scotland. Fred was to show his painting and silver work and Alice was to show Hopi basket weaving. However, the trip was more so a culmination of all his success rather than another place to show work. At this point, Fred was aging and had already accomplished a great deal. This was simply a cherry on top.
Cultural Center Just before learning of a possible Hopi Cultural Center, Fred was offered a job in Washington D.C., with the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. He swiftly turned it down to focus on the cultural center. He was responsible for almost the entire project: he Once the cultural Although Kabotie drew the plans, he picked spearheaded the center was all set in the site, lobbied for financial place, Fred was operation, the vote of support, and even the Hopi people was unanimously elected coordinated the first ever the president, and the needed for the $250,000 modern well in Hopi lands. loan. Some were hesitant center opens in 1975. but the vote passed.
The End of an Epoch When Fred Kabotie passed away in, 1986, His work helped transform the world lost a Hopi art from a mere great artist, “curiosity” to a respected art person, and form. father. Aside from putting Hopi art on the map, the work Fred did for the villages he grew up in was the most important to him. What he loved more than anything was to put other Hopis in a better situation to succeed, and preserve the culture in the process.
About Michael Kabotie. N.p., 1 May 2004. Web. 2 Oct.2011.<http://www.kabotie.com/Pages/aboutmichael.html Belknap, Bill. Fred Kabotie: Hopi Indian Artist. Vol. 1.Flagstaff: The Museum of Northern Arizona, 1977. 1-149.1 vols. Print. Fred Kabotie." AskArt. N.p., 14 Aug. 2009. Web. 6 Oct.2011.<http://www.askart.com/askart/k/fred_kabotie/fred_kabotie.aspx>. "Fred Kabotie." Wikipedia. N.p., 21 Feb. 2008. Web. 2Oct. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Kabotie>.Works Cited